fifty years ago March 5, 1970 Archives

DMK amendment on Hindi rejected

The D.M.K. group’s amendment to the motion of thanks to the President was defeated by the Lok Sabha to-day [March 4] by 178 votes to 20, with 4 abstentions. The amendment sought deletion of the constitutional provision for official status to Hindi. The rejection of the amendment has not caused so much surprise as the meagre votes it secured. Although the D.M.K. group’s amendment was rejected, the party’s leaders here seem to feel that they have gained a point in the propaganda war between the D.M.K. and the Organisation Congress in Tamil Nadu. They gave enough indication that the absence of Mr. Kamaraj and the other two members of his party from Tamil Nadu in the House on this occasion would be fully exploited in their propaganda against the Organisation Congress in Tamil Nadu. (While Mr. Kamaraj had not arrived from Madras by voting time, the other two M.Ps. of his party absented themselves). The rejection of the D.M.K. amendment was the subject of conversation among M.Ps. in the Central Hall of Parliament. It is the view of a section that the D.M.K. has damaged its chief cause and not gained. Protagonists of Hindi are claiming that the voting figures have conclusively proved that not more than 20 members in the Lok Sabha would like Hindi to be removed from its present position as the official language of the nation. If this claim gains support it will only add to the difficulties of those who are fighting against Hindi.

The D.M.K. group’s strength in the Lok Sabha is 23 and of them not more than 10 were present at the time of division on the group’s amendment which obtained ten votes from the Muslim League, the CPM and Swatantra members from Tamil Nadu, Bangla Congress and Akali Dal, one or two Independents and a solitary vote from a ruling Congress member (Mr. Y. Ankiveedu Prasad from Andhra Pradesh) besides the D.M.K.’s 10 votes. The Organisation Congress, according to its leader, Dr. Ram Subhag Singh, remained neutral. Dr. Ram Subagh Singh told newsmen later that he had abstained from the voting on the D.M.K. amendment since its main purpose was to embarrass Mr. Kamaraj who had taunted the party with not pressing for its own stand on the language issue, taking advantage of the Ruling Congress’ dependence on it for the Central Government’s existence.

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